Friday, October 20, 2017

From Ian:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Liberal Jews and that inconvenient Israeli consensus
Jewish institutions are under siege these days, and their principal critics aren’t neo-Nazis. Despite the clear leftward tilt of most organized Jewish life, liberal critics are constantly telling us that mainstream groups like AIPAC and federations are toadies of an Israeli government that is pursuing policies that American Jews abhor. The ferment on the left runs from tame—and largely irrelevant—liberal Zionist groups like J Street to more extreme opponents like IfNotNow and the virulently anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, which also dabbles in anti-Semitic libels as well as support for boycotts of Israel.

The critics and the naysayers have the ear of many Jews. The reason for this has more to do with the demographic collapse and decline of a sense of Jewish peoplehood among the non-Orthodox denominations that make up about 90 percent of American Jews, than it does with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s shortcomings. But it’s also true that the majority of the non-Orthodox Jewish community has little sympathy with the Israeli government’s positions on the peace process.

The notion promoted by President Barack Obama that Israel needs to be saved from itself still resonates among the majority of Jews who voted for him. This view holds that Israel’s continued presence in the West Bank is the prime obstacle to peace as well as the future of the Jewish state. But while this liberal consensus deems Netanyahu a problem, its proponents rarely stop to ask why he was elected prime minister four times, including winning the last three elections in a row.

The answer is simple. There exists a broad consensus within Israeli society that contradicts the assumptions held by most American Jews. The majority of Netanyahu’s compatriots see his policies as the only possible response to a Palestinian political culture that still refuses to accept the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders might be drawn. Moreover, that Israeli consensus isn’t merely upheld by Netanyahu and his allies; his rivals on the center and the left also embrace it.

The most complicated city in the world: Talking to Mayor Nir Barkat about running Jerusalem
On 12 September Fathom hosted a briefing with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Below is an edited transcript of the event. Barkat spoke candidly about running a city that is under the microscope like no other and contested like no other. He also discussed his vision for Jerusalem to be a model for peace and coexistence around the world and his policies to close the gaps between its different communities.

Nir Barkat: I think with this expert audience I’m excused from explaining how complicated the job is. What I’d like to do is share with you the vision that I have for my city. If you understand that vision, you will better understand the decisions I take.

Let me take you back 3,000 years.

When the people of Israel came back from Egypt after hundreds of years of slavery, the land was divided between 12 tribes. Each tribe had its own bit of land, except for Jerusalem, which for a thousand years made everyone welcome at the gates of the Holy City. Hence the phrase in the Bible, “Jerusalem makes all people friends” – a place where all tribes, Jews and non-Jews alike, could worship.

There is another famous phase in Hebrew, “from Zion, new leadership comes out of Jerusalem”. Returning pilgrims would be asked, “what’s new in Jerusalem?” The idea was, if it works in Jerusalem, it might work here. And that need not apply only to the past of Jerusalem; it could apply to its future too. My experience as a mayor is that Jerusalem is a thought-leader. When we get things to work here – between the secular and the religious, between Muslims, Jews and Christians – we offer a model to others.
Arab Muslim Israeli: Anyone Who Slanders Jewish State As ‘Apartheid’ Regime Should Be Ashamed
An Arab Muslim citizen of Israel blasted the anti-Semitic charge that the Jewish state is an “apartheid” regime, saying people should be “ashamed” of using that term to describe the only country in the Middle East that provides “freedom of belief, the right to educate, to elect and be elected” to all minorities.

In a video that went viral this week on Facebook, Dema Taya, who lives in the central Israeli city of Qalansawe, said on an Arabic-language news channel, “Israel is not an apartheid state and anyone who believes this should be ashamed of himself.”

“You live in this country and enjoy the full benefits of its citizenship. You are free to work, study, express yourselves and whatever you desire,” she told the host. “You lead and educate the next generations in a state that respects you. Look at Syria, Iraq, Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries. What have they done for the good of their people?”

Taya is currently in the U.S. on a speaking tour as part of a delegation organized by Reservists on Duty to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and tell of their personal experiences growing up as members of Israel’s minority communities.

“I’m proud to stand up and speak for Israel and that I’m an integrated part of it,” Taya said in the interview.

“I hope that all Arab countries will adopt the Israeli democratic regime – and for your information, 90% of Gaza Strip citizens and the West Bank wish they were under such a regime,” she concluded.

Mother of Islamist Gunman Mohammed Merah, Who Murdered Rabbi and 3 Children in French Jewish School Attack, Causes Outrage at Ongoing Terror Trial
Chaotic scenes broke out on Wednesday at the trial in France of the brother of an Islamist extremist who carried out a spree of terrorist attacks around the southern city of Toulouse in March 2012, including a gun assault on a Jewish school that resulted in the brutal murders of a rabbi along with three young children.

Shouts and jeers erupted from the gallery at the court in Paris during the testimony of Zoulika Aziri — the mother of 35-year-old Abdelkader Merah, who could face a life sentence if he is found guilty of having aided his brother, Mohammed, in carrying out three separate terror attacks between March 11-19, 2012. Mohammed Merah was shot and killed by French police on March 22 of that year at the culmination of a 30-hour siege after he was tracked down.

Tempers at the court flared after Aziri’s lawyer, Eric Dupond-Moretti, justified her decision to lie in some of her statements to the court by describing her as a grieving mother. “This woman is the mother of the accused, but she is also the mother of a dead man,” he said, when urging prosecution lawyers to be less aggressive in their questioning. At this point in the proceedings, the brother of Sgt. Imad Ibn Ziaten — an off-duty French-Moroccan paratrooper shot dead by Mohammed Merah on March 11, 2012 — cried out “Are you not ashamed?” before leaving the courtroom sobbing in the arms of his relatives.

Prosecution lawyers became exasperated when Aziri denied having a conversation with Abdelkader Merah that had been secretly recorded by French police, in which Abdelkader described Mohammed Merah’s actions as a “gift.” “I am better than your engineers, I have my head!” Aziri told the court.

When questioned over the atmosphere in the Merah family home — depicted frankly in French press coverage as ridden with domestic violence and frequent expressions of Islamist hatred toward Jews and the West — she responded angrily, “We are not animals, we are a normal family!”

Aziri continued to insist on Abdelkader’s innocence, denying as well that she had advance knowledge of Mohammed’s plans to carry out terrorist attacks. Aziri has fallen out with her three other children, having denounced a third brother, Abdelghani, for having cooperated with the French police investigation into the attacks. A former wife of Abdelghani’s has said that Aziri abused her by spitting on her and calling her a “dirty Jew.”
West Bank city erects memorial to Saddam Hussein
The Palestinian city of Qalqilya has named a street after Saddam Hussein and erected a memorial with his likeness, an NGO monitoring Arabic media reported.

The monument was unveiled Wednesday at a ceremony attended by the Qalqilya District Governor Rafi Rawajba and two other Palestinian officials. It bears the slogan “Saddam Hussein – The Master of the Martyrs in Our Age,” as well as “Arab Palestine from the River to the Sea,” a slogan often used by Hussein that refers to the intended destruction of Israel.

One side of the memorial shows Saddam saluting, while another depicts him holding a gun.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, the ceremony during which the monument was revealed included speeches in praise of Hussein.

Rawajba said: “Saddam was an emblem of heroism, honor, originality and defiance, as was the martyr Yasser Arafat. [Both served as] a compass for the Arabs and their resolute decisions, and when they departed Arabism departed with them. President Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] makes sure to follow in the footsteps of these two great leaders.”
To get Harvey relief funds, residents of Dickinson must vow not to boycott Israel
Applicants for Hurricane Harvey relief grants for the storm-battered city of Dickinson are asked as part of the terms of the agreement to not boycott Israel, a move the ACLU has called unconstitutional.

The city began accepting applications Oct. 11 for grants to rebuild homes or businesses damaged in the storm that made landfall Aug. 25. The grant money was donated to the Dickinson Harvey Relief Fund.

"By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement," the form states.

ACLU of Texas Legal Director Andre Segura called the requirement "an egregious violation of the First Amendment" and said it was reminiscent of "McCarthy-era loyalty oaths requiring Americans to disavow membership in the Communist Party and other forms of 'subversive' activity."

"The First Amendment protects Americans' right to boycott, and the government cannot condition hurricane relief or any other public benefit on a commitment to refrain from protected political expression," Segura said in a written statement.

The language is reflective of a law passed in the last legislative session that prohibits all state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel. The law, which is similiar to laws in at least a dozen other states, took effect Sept. 1. (h/t abeleehane)
Quebec MNA Amir Khadir scolded for ‘Israel lobby’ comment
A member of the Quebec National Assembly is being accused by B’nai Brith Canada of promoting “anti-Semitic tropes.”

The organization is calling on Amir Khadir, a Québec solidaire MNA, to apologize to the Jewish community for comments he makes in a film produced by British filmmaker Abid Mahi, called #Quebec4Palestine.

A trailer for the film on YouTube is accompanied by the text, “Why are so many Canadians waking up to Israeli’s [sic] crimes!” Elsewhere, Mahi says his goal is advancing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Khadir can also be seen telling interviewer Melanie Messier that, “The dynamics of politics is completely controlled when it comes to the Palestinian issue … by the Israeli lobby.” He goes on to say that “there was a direct link to some lobby that was authorizing or not authorizing (Quebec politicians’) support of this.”

Later, he says: “Unfortunately, as we know, money talks a lot in politics.… In that case, the pro-Israeli – the pro-extremist politics of Israel – lobby is very strong.”

B’nai Brith chief executive officer Michael Mostyn stated that this is “a dangerous anti-Semitic canard. The odious belief that Jews or Zionists control the political system has led to terrible anti-Jewish persecution in dozens of countries over the course of history. There’s no place for this in Quebec in 2017.”

Khadir has a long history of anti-Israel activity, going back long before Québec solidaire was founded. The left-wing separatist party officially endorsed BDS in 2009 and Khadir has tried repeatedly to get the National Assembly to entertain a motion on the issue.
Dutch activist who called Netanyahu a racist named deputy foreign minister
A Dutch activist for Palestinian rights who is married to a senior member of the PLO was nominated cabinet minister for international aid at her country’s foreign ministry.

Sigrid Kaag’s nomination to the position — the second-most powerful cabinet post at the Dutch foreign ministry — will be formalized in the coming days following the signing of a coalition deal between the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and three other partners, including her left-wing D66 party, the NOS public broadcaster reported Friday.

The wife of PLO politician Anis al-Qaq, a deputy minister under Yasser Arafat in the 1990s and a Palestinian Authority ambassador to Switzerland – Kaag has worked for the United Nations UNRWA agency for relief for Palestinians.

As minister for aid, Kaag will not be directly responsible for the foreign relations of her country, which is one of Israel’s strongest allies within the European Union. But she will be responsible for implementing aid projects in the West Bank — including ones considered illegal by Israel, and which have led to friction between the Jewish state and the Netherlands. The Netherlands’ next foreign minister will be the ruling party’s Halbe Zijlstra, whom pro-Palestinian activists in the Netherlands described as “very pro-Israel.”
Report: Los Angeles School District Approved Workshop With Readings Accusing Israel of ‘Genocidal Policies’
The largest public school district in California approved a workshop for teachers containing inflammatory content on Israel with an organization that supports boycotts of the Jewish state.

The voluntary workshop — titled “Learning about Islam and the Arab World” — includes courses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for educators belonging to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), The Israel Group first reported. It was organized by the LA chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FORUSA), an interfaith organization that supports the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, according to its website.

The first session took place on October 14 at the United Teachers Los Angeles development center, with a second portion scheduled for October 21. LAUSD teachers are incentivized to attend the workshop by the prospect of gaining one “salary point” — helping them earn higher pay — if they complete the required assignments.

Upcoming classes at the workshop include “Palestine/Israel,” taught by Jeff Cooper, according to an agenda obtained by TIG.

A 40-page primer Cooper reportedly assigned for his lesson calls Israel a “supremacist ethnic state” and “a State of Oppression,” alleges that Palestinians are “at the mercy of the Israeli war machine,” and claims that non-Jews in the country “do not possess equal rights with their fellow Jewish citizens.”

It also accuses Israel of implementing “ethnic cleansing and incremental genocidal policies,” and posits that “the Zionist vision, since 1896/97, [was] of a Jewish state in all of historical Palestine, with very few, if any, native Palestinians living in it.”
IsraellyCool: Alan Parsons Proud to be Speaking at Anti-BDS Event
We already knew Alan Parsons was a mensch who has stood up to bully BDS-hole Roger Waters.

But to see him post this to promote an anti-BDS event is still extremely satisfying.

The post links to this event:

Sunday, October 29, 2017 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT) and Israel Bonds in association with Liberate Art will bring high profile artists from music, television and film together to have an impactful conversation about the issues surrounding the cultural boycott campaign against Israel.

Sadly, anti-Semitism is on the rise across the globe. Politically motivated groups and individuals are clamoring for a boycott of Israel in entertainment and the arts; impacting not just Israel, but freedom of artistic expression itself. The event will educate the audience on the current issues and how they can make a difference.

Present participants include:

Lana Melman (moderator), counter boycott expert & CEO of Liberate Art
Alan Parsons, Musician/Producer (11 Grammy nominations, Former Pink Floyd engineer)
Mark Pellegrino, Actor (The Big Lebowski, Lost, Dexter, Supernatural)
Ken Hertz, Entertainment Attorney (Will Smith, Gwen Stefani, The Black Eyed Peas, Keith Richards)
David Zucker, Writer/Director/Producer (Airplane!, Naked Gun, Scary Movies)
Guy Erez, Israeli Musician (Alan Parsons Project bassist)
IsraellyCool: Vancouver Sun Shamelessly Promotes Roger Waters BDS Event
Stuart Derdeyn of the Vancouver Sun has written a piece about an upcoming Roger Waters event organized by vehemently anti-Israel Jews-in-name-only group Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

But it is does not read like an objective report about the event, but rather as a fully blown advertisement for it.

Note how the event time, and other event info, is mentioned, including pricing and suggested donation! There is even a link to ticketmaster to purchase Roger Waters concert tickets.

Derdeyn also calls the event a “human rights forum”, even though it is clearly nothing of the kind: it is a forum for bashing Israel and supporting BDS (as well as a way for Waters to deflect accusations of antisemitism since it is an event organized by a so-called Jewish group).
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Antisemite Robert Martin Harassing Israelis
I have written about Robert Martin before – a vile antisemite who pretends he is only “anti-Zionist” (poorly, might I add).

He is currently in Israel, releasing a bunch of videos to supposedly show how evil we are.

What he in fact shows is how full of hatred for Jews he really is.

Note the dehumanizing ways he speaks to and about the Jews.

“You are a bunch of animals.”

Of course, Martin thinks if he hangs out with anti-Israel Neturei Karta – a fringe minority of nutjobs – he is immune from charges of antisemitism.

Sorry, Martin, it doesn’t work that way.
IsraellyCool: Antisemite Robert Martin Still Does a Terrible Job Hiding his Jew Hatred
Yesterday I posted video of vile antisemite Robert Martin in Israel, harassing Jews. While his purpose in posting the video was to somehow demonize Israelis, his nasty, dehumanizing language really exposed his own hatred.

After publishing my post, I decided to see if he was generally more careful these days about exposing his antisemitism. I discovered he has an Instagram account, and he repeatedly tries to show he is only an “anti-Zionist”, not antisemite.
In Erdogan’s Post-Coup Turkey, Anti-Semitism is on the Rise
For a few years, it appeared as though Erdoğan might actually be a force for liberal change in Turkey. He spoke of democracy and Turkey’s bid for inclusion into the European Union. In 2013, he announced several reforms: allowing a greater number of Kurds to serve on Parliament, Kurdish language instruction at private schools, and rescinding the headscarf ban. In 2014 he tried to reassure his Jewish population of their security, stating “Jews in Turkey are our citizens;” in 2016 he said they were “safe and secure.” This all rings hollow given that in 2014 he screamed “spawn of Israel,” to insult protesters of his handling of the Soma mine blast. In 2015 a two hour documentary, The Mastermind, inspired by one of Erdoğan’s speeches, was broadcast on a pro-government propaganda channel, in which Jews (collectively deemed “the Mastermind”) were blamed for all of Turkey’s problems. Several pivotal events witnessed his increasing authoritarianism and intolerance of any perceived as opposition—his brutal reaction to the 2013 Gezi Park protests and fury at the exposure of his alleged involvement with the Iran-gold-Halbank corruption scandal, his 2016 statement that he would “stamp out” the Kurdish conflict, and now his purge of thousands in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup attempt. It is increasingly clear that Erdoğan has now ceased any pretence of caring about individual human rights in Turkey, much less about its ethnic and religious minorities. In fact, he has cast the latter as the “dangerous others” which threaten Turkey’s security.

My own sensitivity to anti-Semitism, as a Muslim, deepened with my involvement in interfaith activities, my journey in Jerusalem with Shalom Harman’s Muslim Leadership Initiative, and by living in Trump’s America, where anti-Semitic (and Islamophobic) neo-Nazis feel newly free to publicly shout “Jews will not replace us.” It also grew with the joyful birth of my exquisite granddaughter, whose great-grandmother is still alive and remembers that only five of her thirty-five relatives survived the Holocaust. I share in the anger of Jews and other religious minorities at Erdoğan’s broken promise to them. His brutal post-coup purge has led to almost 125,000 people detained, and almost 60,000 arrested (as of August 17, 2017). Allowing himself free rein against those he considers enemies, the Turkish president has now indefinitely suspended the European Convention of Human Rights. Erdoğan’s fearmongering and use of scapegoating tactics to increase his own power have strengthened anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, making Turkey less of a refuge for Jews than it once was. Shame on him.
Israeli envoy warns of growing trend as Ukraine unveils statue of anti-Semite
Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine warned Friday of rising nationalism in the country after the erection of a new statue of a Ukrainian nationalist who is blamed for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews during the Russian Revolution.

On Saturday, officials unveiled the monument to Symon Petliura in Vinnitsa, in an area of the city once known as Yerusalimka (Jerusalem), just some 200 meters (600 feet) from a small, functioning synagogue.

“What really matters is not this specific statue in Vinnitsa, but the trends. There is a trend, nationalism is on the rise,” said Israeli Ambassador Eliav Belotzercovsky, speaking at a conference organized by Limmud FSU, a Jewish educational outreach group, at the Black Sea port of Odessa.

Vinnitsa, located 260 kilometers (160 miles) southwest of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, already has a street named for Petliura.

Soldiers of Petliura’s Ukrainian People’s Republic were responsible for 493 out of the recorded 1,236 pogroms and other violent incidents against Jews in 524 Ukrainian towns during the Russian Revolution, from 1918 to 1921. Between 35,000 and 50,000 Jews were killed in the violence, although Petliura’s actual role remains unclear.
Leading Neo-Nazi Urges Supporters to Target Jewish, Black Institutions Near Richard Spencer’s University of Florida Speech
The head of a leading neo-Nazi website is encouraging people who are unable to attend white supremacist Richard Spencer’s talk at the University of Florida (UF) on Thursday afternoon to target local Jewish and other minority institutions in Gainesville.

Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, urged followers on Thursday morning to dress “normally” — “don’t look like an antifa (but don’t look too Nazi either)” — and stage flash demonstrations across the city to “protest Jews, black crime, Jewish media, Jewish coffee — whatever.”

He listed the addresses of the Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student Center at UF, the Institute of Black Culture, the Gainesville Sun, and a local Starbucks (one of the popular chain’s founders was Jewish, as is its executive chairman) — though he cautioned that cops might be at these locations due to their inclusion on his list, so other spots could be preferable.

“You can also demonstrate in favor of things, if there are statues of historically great white men (there are),” Anglin added, noting that each protest should not exceed ten minutes.

He listed a number of recommended chants, including, “We’ve had enough of this anti-white Jewish coffee,” as well as “You/Jews will not replace us,” and “Shlomo go home.”

“The point is to confuse the situation and to create public attention, to make it feel like the entire city is taken over by our guys,” Anglin wrote.
96-Year-Old Former Nazi Death Camp Guard Charged in Germany With Murder Complicity
German prosecutors have charged a former guard at the Majdanek death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland with accessory to the murder of at least 17,000 Jews.

The 96-year-old Frankfurt man—whose name was not released due to German privacy regulations—allegedly served as a member of the Nazi SS’s Death’s Head division as a perimeter guard at the death camp between August 1943 and January 1944.

“According to the known evidence, the suspect, as well as all other SS members of the camp, knew of the cruel and organized mass murder,” the German prosecutors said in a statement, The Associated Press reported.

“He also knew that these people, facing their fate innocently and defenselessly, were killed for inhuman reasons based on race,” they added.

The prosecution said it is prioritizing the investigation of the man’s involvement in the so-called “Operation Erntefest” of Nov. 3, 1943, in which at least 17,000 Jewish prisoners at the camp as well as others were shot in ditches. The man “contributed in his role as a perimeter guard and as a tower guard, and thus knowingly and deliberately aided” the killings, the prosecutors said.

No trial date has been set yet.
Bulgaria adopts international definition of anti-Semitism
The Bulgarian government has adopted the international working definition of anti-Semitism and has appointed a national coordinator on combatting anti-Semitism.

Bulgaria’s Cabinet on Wednesday voted to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which was adopted last year by the Berlin-based IHRA. The Cabinet also appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev as national coordinator on combating anti-Semitism to serve as a liaison to other countries and international organizations on dealing with the fight against anti-Semitism and hate speech, the Sofia Globe reported.

Bulgaria was admitted as an observer country to the IHRA in December 2012, and is taking steps to become accepted as a full member.

The definition of anti-Semitism, adopted by the alliance in May 2016, is: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The IRHA currently has 31 member states and 11 observer countries, including Bulgaria.
NY Jewish woman won’t paint over anti-Semitic graffiti
A Jewish woman in Staten Island, New York, is refusing to paint over the swastika and anti-Semitic slur spray painted on her garage.

The vandalism, discovered early Tuesday morning, includes a large swastika and the misspelled slur “Kyke.”

Debra Calabrese, whose husband is not Jewish, told the Staten Island Advance that she was “devastated” by the attack. “It’s disturbing. It’s a horrible thing,” she said.

She said police detectives on Tuesday collected evidence and then told her she could paint over the anti-Semitic messages.

But Calabrese said she intends to leave the graffiti there, so that everyone can witness it.

“I just want people to see it. The people driving by can’t believe it. Nobody can,” Calabrese told the Advance. She has lived in the house for 14 years.
Printer who helped Raoul Wallenberg rescue Jews gets plaque
Hungarian printer who helped Jews flee the Nazis during the Holocaust was honored with a plaque in Budapest.

Emil Wiesmeyer’s printing company printed 4,000 blank passports to assist Swedish ambassador Raoul Wallenberg in saving Jews from deportation to Nazi death camps. He then printed another 20,000 to help more Hungarian Jews.

Wiesmeyer’s son, Gabor, was on hand for the unveiling ceremony Wednesday led by Szabolcs Szita, director of the Holocaust Memorial Center, and Swedish Ambassador Niclas Trouve, The Associated Press reported.

The communists jailed Wiesmeyer in the 1950s in Hungary. He died in 1967.
Israel's Iron Dome a Quick Fix for Seoul's Vulnerability to North Korean Attack?
One of the most vexing challenges U.S. military planners face in figuring out what to do about the growing nuclear threat posed by North Korea is the vulnerability of South Korea's capital to non-nuclear retaliation. Seoul is a mere 35 miles from the demilitarized zone separating the two countries, putting it within range of North Korean artillery and short-range rockets. The North has deployed thousands of guns and rocket launchers along the border, in effect holding 25 million South Koreans -- half the country's population -- hostage.

The U.S. and its South Korean ally have several defensive options for dealing with longer-range missiles, including the land-based Patriot air and missile defense system, the sea-based Aegis air and missile defense system carried on U.S. warships, and the land-based Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad). The latter system, built by Lockheed Martin, is especially well-suited to defending urban areas against ballistic missiles, having achieved a perfect testing record of 15 kills in 15 attempts. Highly mobile and quickly reloadable, truck-mounted Thaad batteries began deploying in South Korea earlier this year.

But none of those systems is configured to deal with artillery shells, and the rocket launchers located right over the border from Seoul don't loft their munitions to an altitude where systems like Thaad could be effective. So protecting Seoul against short-range threats is difficult, even if nuclear weapons never come into play. Last week, though, Massachusetts-based Raytheon displayed an effective solution at the annual exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington that could be available for deployment within months.
Prototypes for Trump’s wall, including Israeli model, take shape on border
The last two of eight prototypes for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall took shape Thursday at a construction site in San Diego.

The prototypes, including one built by Israeli defense firm Elta, form a tightly packed row of imposing concrete and metal panels, including one with sharp metal edges on top.

Another has a surface resembling an expensive brick driveway.

Companies have until October 26 to finish the models but Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said the last two came into profile, with crews installing a corrugated metal surface on the eighth model on a dirt lot just a few steps from homes in Tijuana, Mexico.

As the crews worked, three men and two women, one carrying a large red purse, jumped a short rusted fence from Tijuana into the construction site and were immediately stopped by agents on horseback.

Francisco said there have been four or five other illegal crossing attempts at the site since work began September 26.

The models, which cost the government up to $500,000 each, were spaced 30 feet (9.1 meters) apart. Slopes, thickness and curves vary. One has two shades of blue with white trim. The others are gray, tan or brown — in sync with the desert.
Japanese Firm Finalizes Record-Setting $1.1 Billion Acquisition of Israel’s NeuroDerm
Following announcements in July that Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) would acquire the Israeli pharmaceutical company NeuroDerm for $1.1 billion, the companies announced the deal’s finalization on Wednesday.

The deal — part of MTPC’s business strategy to grow its US-based operations — is the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli healthcare company.

The Japanese company announced NeuroDerm’s delisting from America’s Nasdaq stock exchange, and said shareholders in the Israeli company would be paid $39 per ordinary share.

Founded in 2003, the Rehovot-based Israeli pharmaceutical company specializes in developing new drug delivery methods and devices for central nervous system disorders, and hopes to launch two new groundbreaking products during the next two years.

“We believe that this transaction will yield important benefits for NeuroDerm’s shareholders and the Parkinson’s disease patients that urgently need new therapies,” said NeuroDerm CEO Dr. Oded Lieberman following the acquisition announcement in July.
Data Storage Startup Raises $95 Million, Making it Israel’s Latest High-Tech “Unicorn”
Last week, Herzliya and Waltham, Massachusetts-based Infinidat announced it had closed a $95 million Series C financing round, led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing with participation from existing investor TPG Growth.

Infinidat specializes in perabytes — a million gigabytes. Perabytes may not be coming to a PC near you in the immediate future, but it’s what large corporations need to store their data in the cloud.

The company’s InfiniBox system, launched in 2014, can hold more than 5 perabytes of data, enough to consolidate a large number of legacy enterprise systems onto a single platform.

The latest round brings the total raised by the company to $325 million. Infinidat is valued at $1.6 billion, making it the latest Israeli “unicorn” – a private startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more (although the company was claiming a billion-dollar valuation two years ago already).

Data-storage requirements are set to explode in the next decade, primarily due to the rise of the Internet of Things (machines communicating with each other), artificial intelligence, and genomic science (the study of the human genome). Analyst firm IDC estimates that the global datasphere will grow from 16 zettabtyes today to 163 zettabytes by 2025. A zettabyte is 1,000 exabytes (or a billion gigabytes).
TV film debuts on Kraft and NFL Hall of Famers’ visit to Israel
As they step off the charter bus in Tel Aviv, you might confuse them for just another American tour group — if not for the yellow Hall of Fame jackets and all those Super Bowl rings.

In July, Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner and celebrated Jewish philanthropist, led a high-profile pilgrimage — he brought 18 National Football League Hall of Famers (and their spouses!) by private jet to Israel for a weeklong goodwill mission.

Like any dedicated tourists, they took plenty of video — which the rest of us can now get to see. At 8 p.m. Friday, the NFL Network will premiere “Touchdown in Israel,” a one-hour special as part of its NFL Films Presents series. (Yes, that’s Shabbat — so set those DVRs before sundown if you’re so inclined.)

The short film follows football greats Joe Montana, Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk and a dozen others as they embark on an itinerary any Birthright alum would recognize, from the Old City to Masada to the Dead Sea.
NFL Films Presents: Touchdown in Israel I NFL Network

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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